DN Academy

DocNomads Academy is an umbrella label that encompasses different activities, events and special courses which are implemented externally to the curriculum in the semesters of DocNomads mobile school, although aiming to enlarge its educational objectives and provide a supportive platform for DocNomads community.

DN Academy includes special courses fostered by initiative of the Academic Board, such as the “Academy Seminars” held annually in February, also activities promoted in cooperation with partner schools, such as the “Summer Schools” in July, or in association with DocNomads alumni, such as the “Alumni Event” held in February.


Alumni Event of 2024

The Alumni Event, which already became a prominent feature amidst the thematic activities organized in Budapest at the moment of gathering the currently enrolled classes in the transition between curricular semesters, this year counted with the attendance of alumni representing the whole 12 classes of DocNomads programme up to date.

Contributors to the event’s program were Jethro Westraad (DN8), Jola Wieczorek (DN1), Atanur Nabiyeva (DN9), Ross McClean (DN5), Nuruzzaman Khan (DN4), Martha Appelt (DN4), Thiago Carvalhaes (DN4), who presented the current state of development or production of the most recent feature-length documentaries they have been involved, thus sharing their professional experiences with the event’s audience congregating students, teachers, alumni, co-workers and friends.






First Session 12:30-14:30



Project title: In Pursuit of Ghosts

Status: Development

Synopsis: In Pursuit of Ghosts is the untold story of whaling in Durban, South Africa; of the mythical Norwegian gunners who toiled the icy south seas and the anonymous Zulu workers who remained on land flensing the carcasses. By tracing the imagined journey of one of these whales, the film poetically charts the effects of a dark industry whose legacy lives on with strange and unexpected consequences.



Project title: Days Yet Unknown

Status: Development

Synopsis: Days Yet Unknown unfolds as a cinematic mosaic, tracing the journey of my family's immigration from Poland to Austria in 1989, marked by our passage through the Traiskirchen refugee camp. The film essay weaves together intimate conversations, letters, staged scenes, archival footage, and the resonance of my personal narrative. It not only chronicles our passage from East to West, but also explores the nature of remembering, inviting viewers to contemplate on the multifaceted effects of migration and the inherent challenges of forging a new home.



Project title: Echoes of Avey

Status: Development

Synopsis: Filmmaker Atanur Nabiyeva, who has lived outside the home country for a long time, returns to her childhood home - Avey Mountain after many years. With the once majestic mountain gradually vanishing due to industrial activities for around two decades, she confronts the haunting disappearance of a lovely part of her past. Saddened that her childhood memories will be destroyed along with the mountain, the director decides to make a film here and document her childhood memories and also the mountain’s disappearance. In the nearly deserted landscape, surrounded by factories and quarries, the director yearns to discover the familiar traces of her childhood through her camera.


ROSS MCCLEAN (DN5, Northern Ireland)

Project title: The Shankill Doctor

Status: Development

Synopsis: Family doctors in the UK are recommended to ‘retire quietly’ at the end of their careers. Following this advice has become a regret for Dr. Mark McClean. He left behind 35 years’ worth of relationships with the people of the Shankill, a working-class British Loyalist enclave in Nationalist West Belfast. Attempting to face this regret, Dr. McClean returns to the Shankill for a final round of in-home check-ups. His journey is intertwined with archival footage recorded by Dr. McClean himself, as the unique gaze of a family doctor reveals the intricacies of life in this troubled yet resilient community.


Second Session 15:00-16:30



Project title: Kamruk Kamakya – The Journey to the Mythical Land

Status: Development

Synopsis: Lokman, a Dhaka dweller displaced by climate change, seeks a mythical solution in Kamruk Kamakya.

In pursuit of magical wisdom, he battles urban struggles, questioning the cost of missing his sons' upbringing. Alongside reality, Lokman's mind weaves a tale, his letters to his children blending myth with truth. Through dreamlike scenes, he encounters trials, resisting seduction by two women until meeting the wise magician. Disillusioned in Kamruk Kamakya city, he recalls her advice, finding solace under a banana tree. Awakening homesick in his village, Lokman's quest for a better life takes an unexpected, mystical turn, blending reality and myth in his poignant journey.



Project title: We Are Stardust

Status: Development

Synopsis: We Are Stardust is a film that delves into the profound interconnectedness between humans and the universe, exploring the concept of “otherness”. An essay-film that begins by acknowledging the interconnectedness of everything - the idea that we are all made of stardust – in order to unravel the scientific, cultural, historical, and social context surrounding our understanding of the universe and the concept of the "other," the "alien." It starts with the notion of alien = extra-terrestrial, transitions to the concept of alien = different species, and culminates in the deconstruction of the concept alien = outsider-migrant.



Project title: Alive

Status: Development

Synopsis: Alive is a portrait of Rute Bianca, a Portuguese trans woman and writer who is a pioneer: one of the first to appear on TV, to undergo gender-affirming surgery, and to... age. Against all odds, Rute recently turned 60 years old. Her glory days are in the past, and now she is back in her hometown to take care of her ill mother. Between routine and memories, the film dives inside this moment when a woman, who always lived in the present, tries to understand her aging process.



17:00-19:30 - Screening of Agent of Happiness (94’) by Arun Bhattarai (DN1, Bhutan) and Dorottya Zurbó (DN1, Hungary) followed by a Q&A.

The film had its World premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (2024) World Cinema documentary competition.

Agent of Happiness offers a unique take on the notoriously exoticized Bhutan and its unusual happiness policy. We follow Amber as he investigates various expressions of contentment across different households and lifestyles while navigating his own struggle as a Nepali minority. The holistic philosophy at the heart of the survey he conducts challenges the conventional metrics of fulfillment and success, often provoking some deeper soul-searching. The filmmakers elegantly capture many tender moments between Amber and his interlocutors, as well as some very revealing conversations filled with unflinching honesty and quiet wisdom.

Through its carefully crafted narrative, the film resonates as a heartfelt exploration of happiness in the face of adversity. As Amber grapples with societal disparities and personal roadblocks, while searching for love, this story becomes a beautifully realized reminder to count our blessings.”

In Sundance Catalogue

Networking, Promoting, Distributing: perspectives in EU (2024)

The fifth thematic seminar of DocNomads Academy was held at the conference hall of Premier Kultcafé in Budapest under the overarching topic “Networking, Promoting, Distributing: perspectives in Europe”.

The seminar started with a lecture of Peter Jaeger, an experienced sales agent, and Creative Europe expert, founder of Autlook Filmsales and Jaeger Creative focusing on innovative distribution, financing and marketing solutions for films and series. Guest participants Veronika Dvořáčková, Sofia Tocar and Ivana Formanová presented the various support initiatives promoted by IDF – Institute of Documentary Film (Prague, CZ) with the analysis of case studies from the testimonies of director Botond Püsök and also former or current students in DocNomads with film projects supported by IDF, such as Anna Gyimesi, Marta Smerechynska, Ana Barjadze. The seminar closed with the Documentary Association of Europe (DAE) mission and initiatives, presented by its Chair and co-founder Julianna Ugrin, also a nominated producer of the European Film Academy, and president of the Hungarian Documentary Association (MADOKE).





13:00-14:30 – Lecture by PETER JAEGER


These days many different statements are made concerning the documentary universe: “The golden age of documentary is over”, “Since the pandemic arthouse documentary distribution is in crisis”, “Streamers are not buying any more”, “Broadcasters are financing less and less”, …

We look at the future & the past of documentary distribution! What has really changed and what is still to come for documentaries?

We even try to find solutions through innovative marketing & distribution.



After studying law & philosophy, Peter Jaeger started as Sales & Marketing Director of a film magazine.

He moved on to become Marketing & Acquisitions Director for renowned theatrical distributors in the Benelux, releasing over 100 films like Mulholland Drive, Festen, and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

In 2004 Peter moved to Vienna to start Autlook Filmsales, creating one of the world’s leading sales agents for creative docs.

In 2015 he created – Jaeger Creative – focusing on Dramaturgy, innovative distribution, financing & marketing solutions for films & series.

Peter is also a Lecturer & Professor at different film schools like Vienna Film Academy, a jury member of the Flemish & Vienna Film Fund, and a Creative Europe expert.


15:00-18:00 – A series of talks about IDF – Institute of Documentary Film initiatives presented by VERONIKA FIDRMUC DVOŘÁČKOVÁ, SOFIA TOCAR and IVANA FORMANOVÁ


The Ex Oriente Film training program presented with a short case study on the film “Too Close” (Ex Oriente Film project 2019/2020) with the participation of its director Botond Püsök.

The dynamic market activities of East Silver, featuring insights into the East Silver Market and Short Pitching programs, with the testimonies of Marta Smerechynska (DN11) and Ana Barjadze (DN12).

The festival distribution program East Silver Caravan presented with a short case study on the short film “Falling” with the participation of its director Anna Gyimesi (DN8).

Presentation of the alternative distribution network KineDok and films shaping this unique program.

The Institute of Documentary Film (IDF) is a key institution for the promotion of documentary films from Central and Eastern Europe. It is the umbrella for several activities that systematically and over the long-term help to ensure that as many quality documentary films as possible are produced in the region, with an emphasis on the Czech Republic, and that these films have the potential to reach an international audience and be disseminated as widely as possible. In order to achieve these goals, the IDF’s activities are divided into several sub-projects to cover all areas of documentary filmmaking. Through the Ex Oriente Film training program, it facilitates the creative development of documentary projects developed by producer-director teams with the ambition to break into the international market, and through the East Doc Platform initiative, which itself is divided into several sub-initiatives, it supports the promotion and establishment of financial partnerships for documentary projects during the largest industry events in the CEE region (East Doc Forum and East Doc Market), by organizing an annual market for documentary films from the region (East Silver), supporting the screening of these films at international festivals (East Silver Caravan), and then developing an innovative project to disseminate these films to audiences through event and site-specific screenings in cooperation with seven European countries and a network of more than 200 screening venues (KineDok project).




East Silver Project Manager

Veronika is in charge of the East Silver, managing both the East Silver Market and the East Silver Caravan.

She supervises and inspires the team to create new opportunities to support the circulation of film production within the CEE region.



East Silver Caravan Coordinator

Sofia is responsible for the East Silver Caravan festival service that has been creating the festival strategy and submitting the most significant documentary short and feature films from the CEE region to more than 400 international film festivals and markets.



KineDok Project Manager

Ivana is the manager of the international project KineDok, focused on screening of creative documentary films at non-traditional venues within eight countries. Ivana participates in the selection of films for the project catalogue and coordinates the communication with the filmmakers and distributors. In cooperation with the international partners, he works on building a stable distribution platform that enables the filmmakers to present their documentaries to the audiences in an alternative, more friendly way.


18:00-19:00 – Presentation of the Documentary Association of Europe (DAE) mission, objectives, and initiatives, by JULIANNA UGRIN


Documentary Association of Europe (DAE) is a member’s organization for everyone working in the documentary profession inside and outside of Europe. It acts and advocates for all its members.

DAE has more than 650 members from 63 countries, individuals and institutions. The majority of them are producers, but also organizations such as IDFA have been our partners from the very beginning.

Membership grants access to major discounts to markets and festivals (Marché du film, EFM, IDFA, DOK Leipzig, Sheffield Doc Fest, Sunny Side of the Doc), members-only stands, dedicated meeting spaces, exclusive meet-up and programming at these events. It also gives access to special online sessions with experienced professionals, access to the festival calendar, and space for special consultations. DAE’s three pillars are Community and Collaboration, Opportunity and Knowledge, Lobbying and Advocacy.



Julianna Ugrin is a founder of the Documentary Association of Europe (DAE) and the current chair of the board.

She is also a nominated producer of the European Film Academy, an EURODOC, and an EAVE graduate, founder, and president of the Hungarian Documentary Association (MADOKE).

Her production company Éclipse Film focuses on creative documentaries for the Hungarian and international market. Films produced by her like A Woman Captured, Easy Lessons, or The Next Guardian were screened, nominated, and awarded at festivals like Sundance, IDFA, Locarno, Hot Docs, or Sheffield.

In 2019 she was selected to Producers on the Move in Cannes. Julianna is fascinated by the magic of real life which drives her to produce high-quality documentary films. Holy Dilemma was her first film as producer and director.

Alumni Event of 2023

The Alumni Event, which is a major staple of the thematic activities organized at Budapest in the transition between curricular semesters of enrolled classes, this year presented a selection of eight documentary projects in development or in production that displayed some of the current professional endeavours of graduated students from DocNomads program.

Once more, this event attracted a great number of DocNomads alumni converging to Budapest for an occasion of reunion, complemented by the preceding showcase of the films recently completed by the current students in their 1st and 3rd curricular semesters.

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Filming On the Edge

The fourth thematic seminar of DocNomads Academy was held at the conference hall of Premier Kultcafé in Budapest under the overarching topic “Filming On the Edge - Making Films in Dictatorships, Riots, and War Zones – Ethical and Practical Questions of a Filmmaker”.

Roman Bondarchuk and Alba Sotorra were invited to present their films Ukrainian Sheriffs (2015) and Commander Aria (2018) followed by masterclasses in which these directors shared insights on their filmmaking methods, ethical decisions, challenging choices, and life-changing experiences while filming in regions stormed by the events of war.

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Alumni Event of 2022

The Alumni Event, after the hiatus of a year (2021) due to the pandemic, was resumed this year in Budapest with the presentation of eight documentary projects either in development, in production or in post-production, which displayed some of the current professional endeavours of former students from DocNomads. The session was complemented by two special screenings and Q&A with the directors, also DocNomads alumni.

This year’s event gathered the students of the currently enrolled classes and a great number of DocNomads alumni, who also attended the screenings in Tában cinema theatre of the films made in the just completed 1st and 2nd curricular semesters.

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Documentary Filmmaking in the Age of Digital Interface (2022)

The third thematic seminar of DocNomads Academy was held at the conference hall of Premier Kultcafé in Budapest under the overarching topic “Documentary Filmmaking in the Age of Digital Interface – When Documentary and Technology Converge” with guest lecturers external to DocNomads staff.

Ana Brzezińska, a senior producer of immersive documentary and virtual reality projects, also curator of events and exhibitions, presented her masterclass “Introduction to Spatial Storytelling and Immersive Technology”.

Sara Božanić, a transmedia design and audiences’ engagement expert and consultant, based in Slovenia, presented the lecture “Brave New Narratives” to examine how documentary filmmakers can utilise new mass media formats, and narratives, to activate alterity and challenge/influence audiences’ interactions, which was complemented by a workshop for the participants.

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Alumni Event of 2020

The Alumni Event, which already became a prominent feature amidst the thematic activities organized in Budapest at the moment of the gathering of the current enrolled classes in the transition between curricular semesters, also became a customary occasion for a reunion with the growing number of DocNomads alumni.

As one of the most participated Alumni Event since its inception in 2016, this year’s event counted with the attendance of students and alumni representing the whole 8 classes of DocNomads programme up to date.

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When Doc and Fiction Merge (2020)

The second thematic seminar of DocNomads Academy was held for two days at the conference hall of Premier Kultcafé in Budapest under the overarching topic “The Thin Blue Line between Documentary and Fiction – When Documentary and Fiction Merge”.

The seminar was lectured by guest participants external to DocNomads staff, namely Filip Remunda a Czech director and producer, co-founder of the Institute of Documentary Film and one of the leading tutors at the Ex Oriente Film workshop, who presented his masterclass “The Docu-mentaly Trip from Czech Dream to Once Upon a Time in Poland”, and Sergey Dvortsevoy, a renowned Russian- Kazakh filmmaker working in both fiction and documentary film projects, who presented “The Art of Improvisation in Documentary and Fiction Film”, a masterclass to illustrate how reality and fiction collide in his filmmaking methods. Péter Kerekes, member of DocNomads Academic Board, served as the seminar moderator, and as film director and producer lectured his own masterclass titled “Using Documentary Methods in Fiction Film – Border between Reality and Reality in the Prison of Odessa”.

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Academy Seminars

The Academy Seminars aim at expanding the boundaries of the regular curricular programme of DocNomads by focusing on thematic lectures, masterclasses and workshops held in February of each year, by when two cohorts of DocNomads students are congregated in Budapest.

Storytelling Seminar (2019)

The first Academy Seminar organized by DocNomads out of its regular curriculum was held for two days at the conference hall of Premier Kultcafé in Budapest.

The seminar was lectured by guest participants external to DocNomads faculty, namely Ildikó Enyedi, a renowned Hungarian film director and screenwriter whose film “Body and Soul” recently won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale; Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz, one of the most prolific Polish documentary filmmakers who is also a professor at Łódz Film School; and Susan Brand, an editor and edit consultant with twenty years of experience in broadcast and independent film. John Burgan, himself a writer, director, editor and lecturer served as the seminar guest moderator.

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Summer Schools

DocNomads Summer Schools are held between the 2nd and 3rd semesters of the Master, and aim at fostering ways of active cooperation with non-European partner film schools by bringing together expertise and pedagogic methods of both parties in order to provide an intensive collective experience of teamwork between small groups of students from both schools, which beyond of an additional learning opportunity is intended to result in a memorable multicultural exchange for all participants.

These activities always take place in local settings proposed by the host schools and chosen by its potential to inspire filmwork approaches. Students conjointly do fieldwork on location, find subjects to develop projects and then produce completed short films to be screened before a local audience, all of these tasks carried out within a period of up to two weeks. Teachers from both schools also cooperate to exchange knowledge and experiences whilst supervising the projects’ development and its production by their students.

Georgia, July - August 2019

The second Summer School was held in Khulo, located in the mountains of Ajara region, South Georgia, which was organized as a 10 day-long workshop of documentary filmmaking in cooperation with TAFU - Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film Georgia State University.

Students of TAFU and DocNomads worked in mixed groups to create 4 films of around 10’ under a tight schedule of about 3 days to research a subject, 4 days to shoot and 2 days to edit the cuts that were screened on the last day.

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Lebanon, July 2018

The first Summer School was held in Ehden, a remote location in the mountain’s region of Lebanon, to what became a pilot venture in cooperation with the School of Cinema and Audiovisual Directing of ALBA-UOB Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, Beirut.

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Alumni Event

The Alumni Event, since its inception in 2016, has become along the years a steadily established initiative amidst the activities carried out in early February by when two cohorts of DocNomads students are gathered in Budapest.

This event is supported by the Academic Board and organized in association with alumni of DocNomads, in view to sustain a live forum of ideas’ exchange between peers of the growing DocNomads community.

Graduated students come to this event to meet fellow Nomads and share experiences of their professional endeavours, or to showcase current projects in production or seeking for collaboration, or to present partnership initiatives developed through independent platforms and ventures, often co-founded with fellow alumni.

Alumni Event of 2019



Moderator: PETER KEREKES (Member of the Academic Board)

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DocNomads issued 6 numbers of the DNA Newsletter between the Spring of 2016 and the Fall of 2018, which became the first series of newsletters distributed amidst the DocNomads network of students, alumni, scholars, collaborators and affiliates, wishing to contribute to strengthen a communication channel between people currently and formerly participating in the programme, and also external people interested in following DocNomads activities.

Within its editorial line, the varied content of the first series of these newsletters included info of broad interest, spanning from giving notice of new activities within the programme, to sharing news about the professional lives of alumni, to spotlighting perspectives about relevant industry topics and other emerging issues related to documentary filmmaking.

A new series of DocNomads Newsletter in updated format is being prepared for quarterly release, which launching is expected to happen until the end of this year. In the meantime, we make the archived numbers of the first series available to the public, which can be viewed from below.

DNA Newsletter 06 - Autumn 2018

DNA Newsletter 05 - Spring 2018

DNA Newsletter 04 - Autumn 2017

DNA Newsletter 03 - Summer 2017

DNA Newsletter 02 - Autumn 2016

DNA Newsletter 01 - Spring 2016


Call for Application to the 2024-2026 (thirteenth) edition is closed.

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DOC NOMADS Erasmus Mundus Masters Course is aimed to students from all over the world with a BA degree in Film Studies, in Arts or in Media Communication studies.

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The DOC NOMADS EMMC has three full partners and enjoys the backing of 19 European and non-European associated members.

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